Tag Archives: Ibanga Udoh Akpabio

TRAIL OF BLOOD AND TEARS: THE RETURN OF AHAB AND JEZEBEL – part II & III

21 Aug

 

                    Part II

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Godswill Akpabio’s betrayal of Ibibio parallels that of his uncle Ibanga Udo Akpabio’s betrayal of Ibibio Union in 1950s. This series looks into the betrayals, the deceits, and ethnic politics perpetrated by the Akpabios.

 

                                                

In 1927, Ibibio Union was born at Calabar. It wasn’t until 1928 that it was amalgamated with Ibibio Mainland Association in Uyo. In 1935, arrangement was put in motion to offer scholarships to 6 students selected from six Administrative Districts comprising of Abak, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Abasi, Itu, and Uyo. The final selection of the students took place in June 1938. These were the students and their Districts:

1.     Bassey U. A. Attah    –    Agriculture –  Uyo

2.    Obot E. Antia Obong  –    Medicine    –  Itu

3.    Ibanga Udo Akpabio   –    Education   –  Ikot Ekpene

4.    Asuquo U. Idiong    –     Medicine    –  Abak

5.    Egbert Udo Udoma    –     Law    –      Ikot Abasi

6.    James L. Nsima     –      Education   –   Eket

During the selection process there were disputes in two Districts. One was at Ikot Ekpene where Mr. Ibanga U. Akpabio was opposed by Mr. U. U. Ekam who was then the Secretary of Ibibio Union, Ikot Ekpene. At the end, Ibanga U. Akpabio was preferred. The other dispute took place at Eket where the Oron group opposed the candidature of Mr. James L. Nsima, but without providing an alternative candidate except to insist that any candidate chosen should be from Oron group.

The Oron group led by Mr. Isong, then a Native Administration Treasurer at Oron appealed to the Central Union for intervention. Owed to non-intervention policy, the Central Union declined to intervene. As a result of this, Mr. Isong decided to withdraw his group from the membership of Ibibio Union with a view to creating separate scholarship for the Oron segment.

The occasion of the successful selection of the candidates for the scholarship was especially celebrated. Religious services were held in churches. Prior to the departure of the students to schools abroad, Thanksgiving Service officiated by Revd. Grover was held at Methodist Church at Ikot Ekpene. On August 1, 1938, the students departed from Port Harcourt through MV Calabar to Lagos, from where they sailed off the shores of Nigeria on August 3, 1938 in MV Apapa.  In that way the first phase of Ibibio Union scheme was concluded.

In 1941, Mr. Bassey Udo Adiaha Attah having graduated in Agriculture in United States of America became the first Ibibio Union scholar to return to Nigeria. In the meantime, and unfortunately, the death of one of the scholars, Mr. Asuquo Udo Idiong from Abak was announced from Canada where he went to study medicine.

In 1943, Mr. Ibanga Udo Akpabio and Mr. James Lawson Nsima who went to United States to study Education returned to Nigeria. Both were given rousing reception organized by Ibibio Union at Lagos. After both had settled down, they awaited Government approval for them to commence the organization and administration of a Secondary Grammar School at a site already selected and appropriated for the purpose by the Ibibio Union.

In the meantime, both Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima were appointed Joint Secretaries of Ibibio Union. The site selected for the grammar school was at Ikot Ekpene. Arrangement for the acquisition of a piece of land on which a school building was already erected had been completed at Ukana along Ikot Ekpene – Abak road. In anticipation of the arrival of both Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima, application for approval for commencement of the operation of the Secondary Grammar School to be known as Ibibio State College at Ikot Ekpene was submitted to government. While waiting for Government approval, Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima were made Principal and Vice Principal, respectively.

The Government approval did not come as quickly as thought. About this time in August 1945, news reached Nigeria that another scholar, Egbert Udo Udoma who read law in Britain had been called to the Bar in London and that in addition, he had been awarded Doctor of Philosophy. This meant that Egbert Udo Udoma was both Barrister-at-Law and a Doctor of Philosophy. This feat was first of its kind in Nigeria.

To be continued

Part III

Ibanga Udo Akpabio Defied Ibibio Union Resolution

                   

With the newly formed NCNC, Ibibio Union opted to join the party at Eastern Regional House of Assembly at Enugu. This was seen as a wise move as it paid a handsome dividend. By joining NCNC in early 1950, Calabar Province became prominent in the Eastern Regional House of Assembly. This let to Professor Eyo Ita, becoming the Leader of Government Business, a forerunner of the post of Regional Premier.

In defiance of the Order by Resolution of the Ibibio National Conference,  lbanga Udo Akpabio, Principal of Ibibio State College, Ikot Ekpene, had voluntarily put his name forward at the electoral college at Enugu and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives at Lagos. With that win,  Ibanga U. Akpabio became a member of not only of the Eastern Regional House of Assembly at Enugu but also of the House of Representatives at Lagos.

Having elected to become a member of the two Houses of Legislature in the country, it became quite clear that  Ibanga Udo Akpabio had chosen for himself an entirely new career as a full-time politician, hence a full-time member of Parliament. His new status was incompatible with his continuation in his previous office as Principal, lbibio State College, Ikot Ekpene – an office requiring full time employment, complete dedication and devotion. The situation was so embarrassing to the lbibio Union people as a whole that curiously enough, it was the people of lkot Ekpene District of the lbibio State Union who were the first to register a protest with the lbibio State Union as to the anomaly thus created.

Following this new status, in September 1950  Ibanga Udo Akpabio was rumored to have threatened to resign as Principal, lbibio State College, lkot Ekpene on the ground that he had prepared himself to go into full time politics in Nigeria. Owed to persistent rumor, Obong S. U. Etuk, a newly appointed manager of the College visited the school. It was reported that on the order of Ibanga Udo Akpabio, some undesirable elements as hirelings threatened to lynch Obong S. U. Etuk who managed to escape unhurt. Ibanga Udo Akpabio would neither confirm nor deny the rumor of his resignation.

On January 19, 1952, to avoid being blindsided and in absence of the Principal Ibanga Udo Akpabio who had been away in Enugu for the Session of the Eastern House of Assembly, the Ibibio State Union directed Chief S. U. Etuk to go to the College and help in the administrative aspects while  E. S. Etukudo was asked to act as the Headmaster of the College. On February 7, 1952, Chief E. S. Etuk appointment was made permanent. The dual role of Ibanga Udo Akpabio seriously affected his ability to function effectively as the Principal of Ibibio State College since he also had to attend to his constituency duties. Complaints began to pour galore into the Ibibio National Secretariat, Uyo.

His prolonged absence also became a source of great anxiety to the Ibibio State Union. It was becoming clearer that the activities of Ibanga U. Akpabio in connection with his membership of both Legislatures were deliberate. It then seemed apparent that he was no longer interested in continuing in office as Principal, lbibio State College, lkot Ekpene. This might have been the reason he refused or failed to obtain for the College recognition and approval for the Post Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations and grants-in-aid by the Government, despite enormous sums of money spent on the College by the lbibio State Union for over six years since the College was founded in 1946.

To be continued
Dr. Tom Mbeke-Ekanem, REA
Moderator
Author, Beyond the Execution –
Understanding the Ethnic and Military Politics in Nigeria
Los Angeles, California
Email: tedey@aol.com
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